The Material Handling System In FMCG Sectors Information Technology Essay

Expressed in simple language, materials handling is loading, moving and unloading of materials. Material Handling System specifies all equipment that relates to the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal. Material handling equipment is generally separated into four main categories: storage and handling equipment, engineered systems, industrial trucks, and bulk material handling.


(i) Efficient and safe movement of materials to the desired place.

(ii) Timely movement of the materials when needed.

(iii) Supply of materials at the desired rate.

(iv) Storing of materials utilizing minimum space.

(v) Lowest cost solution to the materials handling activities.



These are manual or power driven vehicles suitable for movement of mixed or unitized load, intermittently, where primary function is manoeuvring or transporting. The vehicle/truck is physically moved along with the load from one point to another via a flat or slightly inclined route.

NOT-POWERED : Wheelbarrow, 2-wheel hand thick, Hand Lift ( jack) truck, Lift Table

POWERED : Fork lift truck, Front-end truck etc


These are gravity or powered equipment commonly used for moving bulk or unit load continuously or intermittently, uni-directionally from one point to another over fixed path, where the primary function is conveying of the material by the help of movement of some parts/components of the equipment. The equipment as a whole does not move.


These equipments are generally utilized to lift and lower and move unit and varying loads intermittently, between points within an area known as the reach of the equipment, where the primary function is transferring. Hoisting equipment may also be mounted on a powered vehicle when the movement of the lifted load is not limited within a fixed area of operation.


In the large process industries and constructional projects, wide ranges of heavy equipment are used for handling and storage of large amount of bulk solids. These are called bulk handling equipment.


This classification generally includes all types of secondary devices and aids which are utilized for storing, unitizing and movement of materials.


An Automatic Materials Handling System is a combination of equipment and controls that handle, store and retrieve materials as needed with precision, accuracy and speed under a defined degree of automation. Systems vary from relatively simple, manually controlled order-picking machines operating in small storage structures to extremely large, computer-controlled storage/retrieval systems totally integrated into a manufacturing and distribution process. Various components of Automatic Materials Handling System are discussed below.


An Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS or AS/RS) consists of a variety of computer-controlled methods for automatically placing and retrieving loads from specific storage locations. Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) are typically used in applications where: there is a very high volume of loads being moved into and out of storage; storage density is important because of space constraints; no value adding content is present in this process; accuracy is critical because of potential expensive damages to the load.

UNIT LOAD AS/RS: ASRS Unit Load technology is designed to handle unitized loads (full pallet loads) into and out of very high density storage. The AS/RS Unit Load Technology is designed to handle unitized loads into and out of very high density storage.

MINI LOAD AS/RS: A Mini Load ASRS is most frequently used to move and manage small, often irregularly shaped goods or parts. The unique compact design of the Mini Load AS/RS allows you to store more material in less space. The most common usage of this class of AS/RS is for small parts storage and management for picking and order fulfilment.

HIGH SPEED BUFFER AS/RS: High Speed buffers have additional throughput capacity beyond a typical Mini Load AS/RS which allows you to store and retrieve orders in a ready to ship sequence. This technology has the ability to accept a random variety of carton sizes, store them and then send them back out in a new, customer specific sequence to build the final order. This type of application is often found where “Store Ready” or “Rainbow” pallet orders are being created. As a result of the speed of this technology, the need for accumulation conveyor lanes can be eliminated thus saving space, system complexity, and expense.


Different classes of conveyors forming the conveyor group is by far the most frequently used materials handling equipment primarily for conveying bulk materials in process industries and also for conveying certain types of unit loads in large quantities.


FLAT BELT CONVEYOR: In this conveyor, the active side of belt remains flat supported by cylindrical rollers or flat slider bed. The conveyor is generally short in length and suitable for conveying unit loads like crates, boxes, packages, bundles etc. Flat belts are conveniently used for conveying parts between workstations or in an assembly line in mass production of goods.

TROUGHED BELT CONVEYOR: In this conveyor, comparatively wide flat belt is supported on troughed carrying rollers or shaped supporting surface so that the two edges of the active side of the belt are elevated from the middle part to form a trough. This provides a greater carrying capacity than a flat belt of equal width for conveying bulk materials or those materials which would slide off flat belts. These conveyors are used in handling bulk materials of different classes.

Troughed belt conveyors are often used for transportation of bulk materials over long distances, by means of a series of conveyors, over paths that are combination of inclines, declines and horizontal sections, following the natural contours of the ground.

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CLOSED BELT CONVEYOR: They have specially fabricated belt. This belt after being loaded with the material can be wrapped completely around the load. It essentially forms a closed tube moving along with the material. It can handle fragile materials safely and without breaking by reducing inter particle collision. It can handle fine bulk materials without being swept by air.


CONVEYOR SORTATION SYSTEMS: Sortation is the process of inducting and separating products to specific destination lanes with the purpose of arranging product for a better means of distribution to increase in productivity. Sortation systems are employed when high quantities product needs to flow to different destinations. Sortation Systems are an ideal solution for separating products from in-feed conveyor lines to; shipping lanes, palletizing operations, packing stations & other sortation applications.

Conveyor Sortation Systems

ACCUMULATION CONVEYOR SYSTEMS: Accumulation Conveyor Systems ensure that your products arrive at the end of the line without damages which often occur when products smash together on a conveyor line.

Accumulation Conveyor Systems


Typically, AGVs employ one of two methods for guidance. The first and oldest method consists of a fixed path such as wire, tape, or paint on the facility floor. The AGV senses the location of the path and follows it subject to the instructions of a central traffic controller. Commands from the traffic controller are usually sent as a radio message to the vehicle. In some cases, Infra-red communication access points are used for this, and some technologies actually broadcast the signal over the wire.

Owing to the difficulty in installing, maintaining and changing the physical path based design; free-ranging AGV guidance technology is now the most popular method of control. This method uses either inertial navigation technology combined with an odometer to control direction speed and positioning, or the more common method is to use a system of Mirrors and Lasers that are continuously triangulating the vehicles position.

Another “semi-pathless” method of guidance is provided by strategically embedding magnets in the path to be followed – and combining the ability to move from magnet to magnet with the odometry technology mentioned earlier. All of these latter methods are attempting to address the problem of moving wires or physical paths to make a change. This can be a problem in an installation where ongoing operations would possibly be affected by the disruption of the change.

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One of the benefits of this so called “autonomous” guidance system is that the vehicle can now make decisions about how to route itself based on real time feedback of traffic and obstruction information. The primary benefit of this approach, however, is the ease with which a path can be established and then changed as requirements in the process evolve. Most systems use a CAD based program to define the available paths throughout the process, along with the points at which the AGV can pick up or deposit a load.


Small Load AGVs’ are battery powered dive units that are autonomous. They are used to retrieve and delivery small items such as boxes, totes, or trays of product or supplies. In most cases, Small Load AGVs’ are used in place of carts or pallet jacks that require a person to perform the action. Most of these actions are highly repetitive, happening either continuously throughout the day or at scheduled intervals. Navigation is achieved with one of or several of the following ways; cable guided, laser guided, embedded item guided, or vision guided.

Unit Load AGV


Unit Load AGVs’ are utilized for delivering pallets, large containers, or roll handling. Using Unit Load AGVs’ can reduce product damage, aisle traffic, and are able to be scheduled efficiently. Unit Load AGVs’ work best in large areas where there is plenty of room for manoeuvrability. This is great for repetitive, consistent pickup and drop-off points.

Seegrid Fork Truck AGV


Fork Truck AGVs are highly versatile machines that can retrieve and delivery pallets or large containers. Fork Truck AGVs’ can be used for machine tending, truck loading, pallet rack tending, retrieving from palletizers, and stretch wrappers. As an added bonus, most Fork Truck AGVs’ can receive different fork truck attachments to match a number of different applications.


Tugger AGVs’ are perfect for predetermined routes for product delivery or retrieval. Workers can attach different trailers to form a “train system” where the Tugger AGV is pulling several trailers to various destinations. Tugger AGVs’ typically follow a cable or magnet system but a few on the market utilize vision systems that have a programmed path.


Order picking is the removal of items from inventory locations to fulfill an order. The combination of the automation technologies, material handling equipment and industrial automation software used in picking operations is referred to as an Order Picking System or an Order Fulfillment System.


PARALLEL PICKING: Picking happens in multiple areas by several operators at the same time for the same order. The different parts of the order get married up to be packed and shipped.

PICK AND PASS: An order is started in one area, picked in that area and passed to the next area for picking.

BATCH PICKING: Multiple orders are grouped together and picked with a single pass through an area.

SINGLE ORDER PICKING: One operator picks the entire order and moves through the facility to different areas to pick.

WAVE PICKING: Grouping orders together to all be picked at the same time create a “pick wave”.



Using advanced speech recognition, voice systems enable operators to speak naturally and easily. This enables warehouse operators to receive spoken instructions, confirm that their work is correct and report exceptions; all by listening and replying through a headset. All the translations from data into speech and back again are instantaneous. There is no manual data entry, no equipment or labels to handle, and no pick list to miss-read.


In a Pick To Light system, the order number or barcode associated to the order number on a shipping carton or tote is scanned, then lights illuminate, indicating locations where items need to be picked. Each pick light displays a quantity of the item to be picked. The Pick To Light solution can be configured to display to the operator whether they need to be picking pieces or cases along with the quantity. Depending on business rules, operators may also have the ability to indicate short picks through the pick to light devices. Once the operator reports a pick completion within the Pick To Light System by pressing a switch the warehouse management system or host system is updated in real-time.Pick To Light (PTL) Technology


The Pick To Display (PTD) device represents the latest technology for picking and putting products. Pick To Display utilizes a bright colour OLED display screen for unsurpassed image and text viewing. You now have the ability to show product images, special instructions, and other critical compliance information to your pickers. The PTD device combines an LED indicator with an Organic Light-Emitting Diode or “OLED” display.


Handheld mobile RF scanners offer an easy to expand your solution to help meet your needs today and as you grow. Picking is just one of the many functions where an RF mobile handheld device can be used to maximize your order picking operations.


A carousel is an automated storage and retrieval device using a series of shelving units mounted on a closed-loop track. When commanded, the shelves will rotate along the track to bring items to the operator.C:UsersMechi’s ZoneDesktophorizontal-carousel-spinning-wire-shelves-rotating-cabinets-material-handling-remstar-kardex-dallas-houston-austin-san-antonio-oklahoma-city-little-rock-memphis-wichita.jpg

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A horizontal carousel is an automated storage and retrieval device comprised of a series of bins mounted to a horizontal, closed-loop oval track. When a product is needed, the bins rotate, bringing the requested item directly to the operator.


A vertical carousel is an automated storage and retrieval device comprised of a series of shelves mounted to a vertical, closed-loop oval track inside a metal enclosure. When a product is needed, the shelves rotate, bringing the requested item directly to the operator.


A rotary carousel is a series of stacked circular bins that rotate around a central mast. When a product is needed, the bins rotate, bringing the requested item directly to the operator.Rotary Carousels


RFID combined with mobile computing devices and Web technologies are providing a more efficient way for organizations to identify and manage their assets. RFID applications can now deliver a complete set of tools that eliminate paperwork and manual data entry. When combined with web based management tools organizations can monitor their assets and make management decisions from anywhere in the world. Using RFID to Scan Barcodes in a Warehouse

Unlike barcodes, RFID tags rely on radio waves rather than light to communicate their information. That means line-of-sight is not required and many RFID tags can be read at the same time. RFID tags can also be read through many different materials, including cardboard and most plastics.

To read the tags, RFID readers use one or multiple antennas to emit radio signals that prompt all of the RFID tags within range to respond with their unique IDs in rapid sequence. The reader then passes this information on to be looked up in a local database to determine the product’s identity. In many cases the unique ID stored on the tag is an Electronic Product Code (EPC). EPC numbers are passed to the EPC network which, in turn, will identify the product manufacturer, product type and can provide updated tracking information.

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